X-Factor (comics)

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The 1990s X-Factor team, art by Joe Quesada
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearance(1980s team)
X-Factor #1 (Feb. 1986)
(1990s team)
X-Factor #71 (Oct. 1991)
Created by1980s team:
Bob Layton
Jackson Guice
1990s team:
Peter David
Larry Stroman
In-story information
Type of organizationTeam
Base(s)1980s team:
1990s team:
The Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Fall's Edge, Virginia

X-Factor is a group of fictional mutant superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history[edit]

Original team (1986–1991)[edit]

X-Factor launched in 1986 featuring a team composed of the five original X-Men that debuted in X-Men #1 (1963):

  • Angel – A millionaire heir, capable of flight by means of two feathery wings extending from his back.
  • Beast – A brilliant scientist possessing bestial strength and agility.
  • Cyclops – Former X-Men team leader, with the ability to emit powerful "optic blasts" from his eyes (the origin of the optic blast are portals in his eyes from another dimension).
  • Jean Grey (Marvel Girl) – The long-time love of Cyclops, possessing telekinetic abilities.
  • Iceman – A brash jokester, gifted with cryokinetic (the ability to lower temperature around him and form ice) abilities.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Angel, Beast, and Iceman wandered through various superhero teams. By 1985, all three were members of the Defenders. With the monthly Defenders series already due to be cancelled, Marvel's editorial staff elected to have the other members of the group killed off in the final issue in order to free up Angel, Beast, and Iceman for X-Factor.[1]

A more difficult task was the return of Cyclops and Jean Grey. In 1980, Jean Grey was killed during the seminal Dark Phoenix Saga, and it was considered vital that the team have a female member.[2] In one of the most significant cases of retroactive continuity in comic book history, Jean Grey had never actually been the Phoenix. Instead, the Phoenix entity copied Grey's identity and form, keeping her safe in a cocoon-like structure beneath Jamaica Bay.[3][4]

In order to join the team, Cyclops walked out on his new wife Madelyne Pryor, an Alaskan pilot who bore a strange resemblance to Grey, and their infant son, Nathan Christopher.[5]

The original X-Men disassociate with the current team because Professor X had placed their old nemesis, Magneto, as its leader. The five original members set up a business advertised as mutant-hunters for hire, headquartered in the TriBeCa neighborhood of downtown New York City,[6] posing as "normal" (non-superpowered) humans to their clients. The mutants that X-Factor capture are secretly trained to control their powers and reintegrated into society. Through their "mutant hunting" they recruit a group of young wards:

  • Artie Maddicks – A pink-skinned, mute child who could project hologram-like images of his thoughts.
  • Tabitha Smith – A young woman who ran away from her abusive father, who can create handheld energy spheres that she can explode at will, which she calls "time bombs".
  • Rusty Collins – A former member of the U.S. Navy whose pyrokinesis first manifested uncontrollably, severely injuring a woman.
  • Leech – A green-skinned young boy, who can dampen the mutant powers of those around him.
  • Rictor – A Mexican teenager who can produce powerful seismic waves.
  • Skids – A runaway who could project a protective force field around her body.

Eventually, the team decides that the "mutant hunter" ruse did more harm than good by inflaming hatred, and blames it on X-Factor's original business manager, Cameron Hodge, who is revealed as a mutant-hating mastermind.

In X-Factor #6 (1986), Louise Simonson introduced Apocalypse, who would appear in multiple issues and become X-Factor's nemesis.

In X-Factor #10, the Marauders, a group of mutant mercenaries, severely injure Angel's wings, which are later amputated. Despondent, Angel attempts suicide by detonating his airliner mid-flight, but Apocalypse rescues him and transforms him into Death, one of his Four Horsemen, giving him metal wings and blue skin. Angel escaped Apocalypse's control, but these physical changes remain. He is renamed Archangel and becomes a much darker character, eventually rejoining the team in issue #36. Angel's replacement on X-Factor, Caliban, turns to Apocalypse for more power in issue #24, with Apocalypse leaving X-Factor his ship in return.

In the 1989 crossover Inferno, Madelyne Pryor is revealed to be a clone of Jean Grey created by the mutant geneticist Mister Sinister. Manipulated by demons and tormented by Scott's rejection of her, Madelyne kills herself in a suicide attack on X-Factor.

In the last major storyline of the first X-Factor series, published in early 1991, Apocalypse kidnaps Nathan Summers, sensing that he would grow up to be a powerful mutant and possible threat. X-Factor rescue Nathan from Apocalypse's lunar base, but find him infected with a "techno-organic" virus that cannot be treated. A clan of rebels from the future, known as the Askani, send a representative to the present time to bring Nathan 2,000 years into the future to be treated. Fully grown, he returns to the 20th century as the antihero, Cable.[volume & issue needed]

X-Factor, the X-Men, and several minor characters team up to fight the telepathic Shadow King in another crossover event, The Muir Island Saga. Afterward, the original members of X-Factor rejoin the X-Men and several characters from various X-Men-related series become founding members of a new X-Factor.

Government team (1991–1998)[edit]

X-Factor was recreated with new members, all of whom were already allies of the X-Men, and three of whom were involved in the Muir Island Saga. The new X-Factor worked for the Pentagon, replacing Freedom Force as the government's salaried mutant team.[7] Their relationship with their benefactors was often strained and complicated. The new X-Factor, debuting in issue #71, included:

  • Valerie Cooper – A U.S. government agent with history as both ally and adversary of the X-Men who becomes X-Factor's government liaison, carrying over from her duties as liaison to a prior government-sponsored team of mutants, Freedom Force.
  • Havok – A former X-Man and brother of Cyclops who can manipulate powerful, but hard to control, cosmic rays. Havok serves as X-Factor's leader.
  • Multiple Man – He can create duplicates of himself on physical impact. He was previously offered X-Men membership, but he declined, opting instead to work at the Muir Island research center.
  • Polaris – Havok's long-time lover, and also a former X-Man who can control magnetism. Rumored to be Magneto's daughter.
  • Quicksilver – A long-running Avengers character, and a former foe of the X-Men, who possesses super speed and a difficult temperament.
  • Strong Guy – A wise-cracking character who can re-channel kinetic energy aimed at him, transforming it into muscular mass and power. Lila Cheney's former bodyguard.
  • Wolfsbane – A Scottish former New Mutant who can transform into a wolf-like creature. Some artificial manipulation of her feelings causes her to love Havok, bringing her much conflict and frustration because she knows he loves Polaris.

Forge, a former government weapons contractor whose mutant powers were his brilliant engineering skills, was later added to the group; first replacing Cooper as their liaison after she had been compromised by one of Magneto's Acolytes, and later as an active member. Cooper later becomes an active member as well, her marksmanship and athletic skills compensating for her lack of superhuman powers.

In a 1995 story, Multiple Man apparently dies of the Legacy Virus, a deadly illness that attacks mutant genes, which is later revealed to have only killed one of his duplicates. Strong Guy is put into suspended animation after suffering a heart attack caused by the stress his extra mass put on his body. Wolfsbane, cured of her artificial love for Alex, transfers to the European mutant team Excalibur. Havok leaves to infiltrate a mutant terrorist ring.

A new X-Factor line-up was introduced, consisting of Forge as the team's new leader, Polaris, Cooper, and several new recruits:

  • Mystique – A shapeshifting mutant criminal and master of espionage. Mystique is forced to join X-Factor following her capture by federal agents.
  • Sabretooth – A homicidal mutant criminal who possesses talons, heightened senses, and a healing factor. Like Mystique, Sabretooth is a captive member that Forge uses special technology to control.
  • Shard – A holographic computer program with the personality of the X-Man Bishop's deceased sister of the same name. Bishop is a time-traveler from a distant future, where he and Shard are members of Xavier's Security Enforcers. The holographic Shard was brought to the 20th century with Bishop.
  • Wild Child – A former member of Alpha Flight who possesses heightened senses, fangs, and claws.

The team later had a secession from government sponsorship. Multiple Man and Strong Guy appear again at the same time. Despite Forge managing to fix Strong Guy's problems, he does not rejoin the team. The popularity of X-Factor continued to dwindle and Mystique and Sabretooth, two popular X-Men villains, failed to draw in more readers. Wild Child mutates out of control, Mystique hunts down Sabretooth (who had kidnapped young Tyler Trevor Chase), and Forge breaks ties with X-Factor.

After various stories focusing on individual characters, a new team was gathered consisting of Havok, Multiple Man, Polaris, Shard, and other members of the X.S.E., Fixx, and Greystone, that are brought to the 20th century. However, this version of the team disbands in the same issue in which they debut. In that issue, #149 (1998), Greystone builds a time machine meant to take him and his compatriots back to the future. However, the device explodes, killing Greystone and Havok. Afterward, X-Factor disbands.

The time machine's explosion transports Havok to a parallel world, populated by twisted versions of Marvel characters. He explores this strange world in the series Mutant X.

Issues Characters
#1–9 Angel, Artie Maddicks, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Rusty Collins
#10–16 Angel, Artie Maddicks, Beast, Boom-Boom, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Rusty Collins, Skids
#17–24 Artie Maddicks, Beast, Boom-Boom, Caliban, Cyclops, Iceman, Leech, Marvel Girl, Rictor, Rusty Collins, Skids
#25–33 Artie Maddicks, Beast, Boom-Boom, Cyclops, Iceman, Leech, Marvel Girl, Rictor, Rusty Collins, Skids
#34–70 Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl
#71–93 Havok, Multiple Man, Polaris, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, Valerie Cooper, Wolfsbane
#94–102 Forge, Havok, Multiple Man, Polaris, Quicksilver, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane
#103–111 Forge, Havok, Polaris, Strong Guy, Valerie Cooper, Wolfsbane
#112–118 Forge, Havok, Mystique, Polaris, Valerie Cooper, Wild Child
#119–122 Forge, Mystique, Polaris, Sabretooth, Shard, Valerie Cooper, Wild Child
#123–128 Forge, Polaris, Sabretooth, Shard, Valerie Cooper, Wild Child
#129–142 Forge, Mystique, Polaris, Sabretooth, Shard, Valerie Cooper, Wild Child
#143–149 Archer, Fixx, Greystone, Havok, Polaris, Shard

Volume 2 (2002 miniseries)[edit]

A four-issue X-Factor limited series was launched in 2002. This series focused on the government's new Mutant Civil Rights Task Force, which consisted of humans who investigated anti-mutant hate crimes and inadvertently discovered an anti-mutant conspiracy within their own ranks.

Volume 3 (2005–2013)[edit]

X-Factor Investigations, from X-Factor (vol 3) #224.1. Art by David Yardin.

X-Factor Investigations is a detective agency run by Jamie Madrox, also known as Multiple Man. The name is taken from the government-sponsored group the three founders previously served on. The initial staff consists of Madrox's best friend and special enforcer, Guido Carosella (Strong Guy), and former teammate Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane). Following the events of the "House of M" storyline, Madrox's new-found wealth from winning a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?-style game show allows him to recruit several of his former colleagues from the Paris branch of the now defunct X-Corporation. New members include:

  • M (Monet St. Croix) – a wealthy ambassador's daughter with an array of superhuman powers.
  • Rictor (Julio Richter) – A Mexican mutant who can produce powerful seismic waves.
  • Siryn (Theresa Cassidy) – Banshee's daughter with similar sonic-based powers.
  • Layla Miller – a young mutant who inserts herself into the group to keep them from discovering the truth behind the "Decimation" storyline.

The new series opens with a suicide attempt by Rictor, who has lost his powers. The series deals with the group's attempt to unravel the truth behind the "Decimation" and its aftermath, fighting with Singularity Investigations, and dealing with Madrox's powers and their consequences.

During the "Messiah Complex" storyline, Jamie and Layla travel to a dystopian future in which mutants are persecuted and imprisoned. Jamie escapes and returns to the early 21st century, but Layla is still trapped. Rahne fears (because of a glimpse she has had of the future) that she, while in her wolf shape, will murder Jamie and Layla. To prevent this, she quits the team and joins X-Force. Rictor also quits. Jamie travels to the future with the help of an aged Layla Miller and helps a rebellion led by a cyborg Scott Summers and his daughter Ruby, while the rest of the team is in the present. After battling Arcade, who captured Rictor (who then rejoins), the team meets one of Jamie's duplicates, who calls himself Cortex and is joined by new members:

  • Longshot – a genetically created humanoid from Mojoverse with favorable probability outcomes.
  • Darwin (Armando Muñoz) – one of Moira's early recruit with reactive evolution powers.
  • Shatterstar (Gaveedra Seven) – founding X-Force member with that can open dimensional portals and channel vibratory shockwave through his swords.

All-New X-Factor (2014–2015)[edit]

The next incarnation of the series was All-New X-Factor, and depicts the corporation "Serval Industries" forming a new corporate-sponsored version of the team, which includes Polaris, Quicksilver, Gambit,[8][9] Danger, Cypher and Warlock.[10]

Volume 4 (2020–2021)[edit]

X-Factor was relaunched and the new team investigates cases of missing mutants and presumed deaths for Krakoa, confirming if they can be resurrected:

  • Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier) – team leader and former Alpha Flight member with superhuman speed.
  • Polaris (Lorna Dane) – an X-Factor alumna who can control metal.
  • Prestige (Rachel Summers) – a telekinetic and telepathic mutant from a dystopian future.
  • Daken (Akihiro) – Wolverine's son with similar powers to his father.
  • Eye-Boy (Trevor Hawkins) – a young mutant with multiple eyes all over his body.
  • Prodigy (David Alleyne) – former Young Avengers and Xavier Institute student that can mimic other skills and knowledge.
  • Aurora (Jeanne-Marie Beaubier) – twin sister of Northstar with the same power.

The team works closely with The Five, a circuit of mutants introduced in House of X/Powers of X working in conjunction to resurrect fallen mutants:

  • Goldballs (Fabio Medina) – produces a limitless amount of unviable biological eggs.
  • Proteus (Kevin MacTaggert) – transforms the unviable egg into a viable one.
  • Elixir (Joshua Foley) – biologically kickstarts the process of life, initializing cell replication and husk growth.
  • Tempus (Eva Bell) – temporally matures the husk to a desired age.
  • Hope Summers – enhances and synthesizes the other resurrection mutants' powers to ensure the success of each resurrection.

X-Factor members[edit]

In 1986, the team debuted in X-Factor #1.[11]

First Class
Character Real name
Cyclops Scott Summers
Iceman Robert Louis "Bobby" Drake
Beast Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy
Marvel Girl / Phoenix Jean Grey
Angel / Archangel Warren Kenneth Worthington III
Character Real name Joined in
Caliban X-Factor #17 (1987)
Federal team[12]
Character Real name Active in
Polaris Lorna Dane X-Factor #71 (1991)
Multiple Man Jamie Madrox
Strong Guy Guido Carosella
Havok Alexander Summers
Wolfsbane Rahne Sinclair
Valerie Cooper
Quicksilver Pietro Django Maximoff X-Factor #72 (1991)
Random Marshall Evan Stone III X-Factor #92 (1993)
Forge X-Factor #93 (1993)
Mystique Unrevealed (alias: Raven Darkhölme) X-Factor #114 (1995)
Wild Child Kyle Gibney
Shard Shard Bishop X-Factor #119 (1996)
Sabretooth Victor Creed X-Factor #120 (1996)
Fixx X-Factor #149 (1998)
Greystone Devlin Greystone
Archer Unrevealed (in body of Jude Black)
Doc Samson Leonard Skivorski, Jr.
X-Factor Investigations[13]
Character Real name Active in
Multiple Man Jamie Madrox Madrox #5 (2005)
Strong Guy Guido Carosella
Wolfsbane Rahne Sinclair
Siryn / Banshee Theresa Rourke Cassidy X-Factor, vol. 3 #1 (2006)
Butterfly Layla Rose Miller
M Monet St. Croix
Rictor Julio Esteban Richter X-Factor, vol. 3 #2 (2006)
Darwin Armando Muñoz X-Factor, vol. 3 #33 (2008)
Shatterstar Gaveedra Seven / Benjamin Russell X-Factor #200 (2009)
Havok Alexander Summers X-Factor #230 (2012)
Polaris Lorna Dane
X-Factor Investigations allies
Ruby Summers X-Factor Special: Layla Miller #1 (2008)
Pip the Troll Pip Gofern X-Factor #213 (2011)
Tier Sinclair X-Factor #250 (2013)
All-New X-Factor[14]
Character Real name Active in
Polaris Lorna Dane All-New X-Factor #1 (2014)
Gambit Rémy LeBeau
Quicksilver Pietro Django Maximoff
Danger All-New X-Factor #4 (2014)
Cypher Douglas Aaron "Doug" Ramsey All-New X-Factor #6 (2014)
Georgia / Decay Georgia Dakei All-New X-Factor #8 (2014)
Sunfire Shiro Yoshida
X-Factor (2020)
Character Real name Active in
Daken Akihiro X-Factor, vol. 4 #1 (2020)[15]
Eye-Boy Trevor Hawkins
Northstar Jean-Paul Beaubier
Aurora Jeanne-Marie Beaubier
Polaris Lorna Dane
Prestige Rachel Summers
Prodigy David Alleyne

Other versions[edit]

In other media[edit]

The second incarnation of X-Factor appears in X-Men: The Animated Series, consisting of Forge, Polaris, Multiple Man, Strong Guy, Quicksilver, Havok, and Wolfsbane.


  1. ^ DeAngelo, Daniel (July 2013). "The Not-Ready-For-Super-Team Players: A History of the Defenders". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (65): 3–16.
  2. ^ "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #161". Comic Book Resources. June 26, 2008.
  3. ^ "Comics of 1986 #30 X-Factor". Revolution Science Fiction. September 12, 2006.
  4. ^ Harvey, Allan (August 2008). "Four Men and a Telekinetic Lady: The Birth of X-Factor". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (29): 69–72.
  5. ^ Cronin, Brian (2016-06-04). "Remember to Forget - That Time Cyclops Ditched His Wife and Newborn for His Ex-Girlfriend". CBR. Retrieved 2023-04-15.
  6. ^ Sanderson, Peter (2007). The Marvel Comics Guide to New York City. New York City: Pocket Books. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-4165-3141-8.
  7. ^ O'Neill, Patrick Daniel (February 1992). "Peter David". Comics Interview. No. 105. Fictioneer Books. pp. 19–23.
  8. ^ Sunu, Steve (October 11, 2013). "NYCC Exclusive: David Resurrects the Team in All-New X-Factor". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013.
  9. ^ Sunu, Steve (November 4, 2013). "All-New X-Factor Images Reveal New Team Member". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 7, 2013. Archive requires scrolldown
  10. ^ David, Peter (w), Di Giandomenico, Carmine (a). All-New X-Factor, no. 4–6 (May – June 2014). Marvel Comics.
  11. ^ "Look Forward to 'X of Swords' with a Look Back at 'X-Factor'". September 29, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  12. ^ "X-Factor". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  13. ^ "X-Factor Investigations". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  14. ^ Lealos, Shawn (September 12, 2020). "All-New X-Factor: How the X-Men Team Went Corporate". Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  15. ^ "Preview the Return of 'X-Factor' #1". July 2, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
  16. ^ Ultimate War #4. Marvel Comics.
  17. ^ X-men '92 vol. 2 #6–10

External links[edit]